Starbucks Promotes New Coffee with Free Samples

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

As part of an effort to rebuild its brand, Starbucks launched a nationwide sampling effort to promote its latest brew, Pike Place Roast, a fresh-brewed coffee the firm hopes will help turnaround sales.

Starbucks offered free 8-ounce cups of Pike Place, its “everyday brew” at its 7,100 company-operated stores yesterday. The 30-minute-long giveaway started at noon on the east coast and at 9 a.m. on the west coast.

The coffee giant also staged an event in Manhattan’s Bryant Park There Starbucks
President and Chief Executive Howard Schultz lead the nationwide coffee tasting from The company built a replica of the original Pike Place store there on Monday, according to news reports.

The sampling effort is the latest in Starbuck’s attempt to connect with customers and become less corporate, it said. The new coffee is part of a larger turnaround plan for the company announced in March (Promo Xtra, March 21, 2008).

Starbucks reps did not say how many samples it handed out or how much the effort cost the company.

“We are returning to the very best elements of our heritage and bringing back the simple romance and excitement of coffee,” Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz, said in a statement. “Pike Place Roast takes us one step closer to achieving our goal of transforming the in-store experience by restoring the connection our customers have with our coffee.”

The Pike Place Roast coffee beans will be hand-scooped, ground, and brewed in-store. Starbucks’ baristas will also discard any coffee leftover after 30 minutes to ensure customers receive a fresh cup. And for the next two months, Starbucks will serve coffee in old-fashioned brown-and-white cup, instead of green and white cups to symbolize the notion of going back to its roots.

The events come just a day after McDonald’s said it planned to sell espresso drinks in western Washington. McDonald’s is promoting its specialty drinks at a microsite Visitors can down a coupon for a free drink, redeemable in western Washington.

The site also features a “snobby coffee intervention” section, where people can send an e-mail to a friend to help them kick the habit. Visitors pick and choose words to fill in a Mad-Lib style letter.


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